Abigail ambled into the foyer of her newly purchased home, breathing in the welcoming smell of the ocean that floated into the house from the open windows. This was her first official move on her own since Liam died seven years prior. Melancholy washed over her, the bittersweet freedom of starting over.
She wasn’t without baggage; yet there was something oddly comforting in the way the thin, linen curtains gently moved with the breeze as if dancing the sacred dance of the tides, and the subtle language of the waves as they dispersed on the shore.
The house on the beach had a whimsical and hopeful feeling to it. This neighborhood was nothing like her old one in the desert; the place she ran to heal after her soulmate’s passing. Abigail labored under severe living conditions and harsh emotional struggles. She wrestled the demons of grief so often that she came to associate her memories of Liam with feelings of despair. Oftentimes she wondered if she was losing her mind, for her mother’s overbearing idea of nurture made it nigh impossible for her to truly mend those gaping wounds of loss.
It wasn’t until her father invited her to visit several months back that her luck began to change. Abigail was never one to force things; she liked to go with the flow because she believed it made life all the more magical. During her stay, a peculiar thing occurred: he told her that he was moving to Japan and wanted to sell his treasured home to his daughter.
Shocked, Abigail stammered that she would love to, but she couldn’t afford it. She had recently paid off her debts and was putting as much into savings as she could, but the unforgiving desert town wasn’t the best for abundance and she found herself lacking whenever she wasn’t thrifty.
“Okay,” her father replied, a wide smirk on his face. “Make me an offer I can’t refuse,” he guffawed, performing his finest mobster impersonation and failing miserably.
Abigail chuckled along with him as she jokingly said, “How about one dollar?” Her face turned beet red with embarrassment, for she wasn’t one to be so bold, and she certainly didn’t want to insult her father in jest.
But, he wasn’t offended. Instead, his eyes lit up and he held out his hand for her to shake it. “Deal,” he intoned cheerfully as they sealed the agreement.
The memory made her smile. She suspected that her father planned on giving her the house all along, but he did it that way so she could save her fragile ego. If only Liam were here to see this, she thought to herself. Sighing, she picked up boxes of Liam’s worn books and faded photos, carrying them upstairs to the attic.
It was a quaint attic, as far as attics were concerned. Its high-beamed ceilings and white walls brightened a normally dismal room. Daylight beamed through the small, circular window that the overlooked the ocean causing the dust bunnies to flutter in the air like little snowflakes.
Remnants of her dad’s life lived up here, and a strange wooden box labeled Stuff that Time Forgot was among them. It was filled with glass balls of all colors and varying sizes. Some of them looked like they had tiny, playful creatures made of light performing acrobatic moves; while others swirled colors of different hues, like smoke twirling on a rainbow. Abigail plucked one of them from within the box and watched, mesmerized by its hypnotic waltz.
“This is quite…fascinating,” Abigail commented aloud to the room. She was answered by a raspy “meow” as Katie rubbed up against her leg, her big yellow eyes fixated on the box.
Startled, Abigail dropped the glass ball that she was holding in her hands, letting out a few choice curses as it fell and shattered at her feet. The space in front of Abigail instantly filled with dense vapor, obscuring her vision completely. It quickly spread throughout the entire room.
Katie jumped, climbing up Abigail’s leg, her sharp claws piercing through Abigail’s soft, cotton capris. Too spellbound to care, she held Katie close to her chest with one arm, quietly humming her favorite tune to calm the old feline.
Abigail took a deep breath as she attempted to stay calm and remain logical. How could one little glass ball make this much fog? She stepped prudently in the direction of the exit. As she did, the fragments of the glass crunched melodiously beneath her feet. With confidence building, and Katie beginning to purr, she took another small step along the same path, bypassing the remaining pieces of broken glass.
A like that, the miasma lifted; a magician removing the veil between the worlds in one swift motion.
She was transported to a scene from her dreams. She visualized this fantasy so often that she knew she must’ve fallen asleep. So, she pinched herself just in case. Nope, she was completely lucid!
Verdant, massive oak trees encircled her in a grove filled with wildflowers, the gentle glow of fireflies lighting up the night. The moon hung luminously pregnant overhead. In the middle of the thicket sat a silhouette clad in forest green robes, a hood cast down so as to obscure his face. So many times in her vision Abigail would nearly reach the figure, outstretching her hand to lift the hood, only to wake up drenched in sweat.
But not tonight. Tonight, she held her chin high and her cat snugly. She strode confidently over to the dark form, determined. Before she could reach her destination, the mysterious figure pulled back his hood dramatically.
Abigail halted, stunned.
Liam sat grinning widely. He hadn’t aged a day; his hazel eyes twinkled cheerily. He extended his hand to her as he said, “I’ve been waiting a long time for you. I’m delighted you made it.”
Tears of elation and relief brimmed from Abigail’s azure eyes as she reached out to take his corporeal hand. A dream made manifest. She was home, at last.